EA Replay Hands-On

Some great games from the vaults at Electronic Arts are getting compiled onto one UMD this October.


EA Replay

While the roots of Electronic Arts go all the way back to 1982 and games for the Apple II and Atari home computers, the modern era of EA really got going during the 16-bit days. The Sega Genesis and, later, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System housed some great games with EA's name on them, and now the company is working on a compilation that brings some of those games together on one disc for the PSP.

Remember when games were played in only two dimensions?
Remember when games were played in only two dimensions?

Of course, some of the games are better known and loved than others. There are 14 games on the disc, including the isometric helicopter Genesis games Desert Strike and Jungle Strike. There aren't any licensed sports games like Madden or NBA Live, but you'll get the classic Mutant League Football. Racing is covered by the first three games in the Road Rash series, which is a motorcycle racing game that lets you punch, kick, and swing weapons at the other riders. The Genesis games map the A, B, and C buttons to square, X, and circle, respectively.

Some SNES emulation is also present with Ultima VII, Syndicate, and two Wing Commander games. These are pretty faithful versions, but unlike many of the Genesis games on the disc, most of these SNES games were originally PC games that were better on the PC. So you'll be getting the sort-of-crippled console versions of these games instead of the classics you might remember.

So far, the version we've seen appears to play many of the games just fine, though the audio is clearly unfinished, and a few games, like Ultima VII, don't seem to be working just yet. The options and menus are in, however, and you'll be able to save your progress in any game at any time--which should get around some of the password entry hassles found in the original games--and select from either the original 4:3 aspect ratio or a stretched 16:9 view.

Look for some unlockable supplementary goodies to accompany the 14 classics found in Replay.
Look for some unlockable supplementary goodies to accompany the 14 classics found in Replay.

In addition to the games themselves, it appears that the package will include unlockable artwork for many, if not all, of the games in the collection. Also, though not available in the version we saw, there is an ad hoc menu intended to allow for wireless multiplayer play. Considering games like Mutant League Football were great multiplayer games, we're hoping the ad hoc functionality works well.

While not every game on the list is something to write home about, so far there seem to be enough great 16-bit games in this collection to make it worth watching. The final version of EA Replay is scheduled to be released at the end of the month.

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